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Inbox: They were as deep as they were talented

The problem is finding a basic, creative solution for how to solve the overtime issue

LB Rashan Gary
LB Rashan Gary

Mike from Sacramento, CA

Just a comment about going all in...this isn't Madden where the right stats mean success. Chemistry and trust go further when it comes to getting hot at the right time than signing a big name. Back when the Romans ruled Europe, many countries tried to copy their legions. But without growing up a Roman, they never had the same success. The same goes with the Patriots' system or the Rams'. The Packers need to continue with their own players and their own culture to be successful.

Right on. The Packers' process has worked. As Brian Gutekunst said, he feels the Packers weren't missing anything last year. I think that's the common sentiment in the locker room and front office. They just need to play better, as a team, in those big playoff moments. That's the No. 1 reason they want to keep this thing together to take another swing at a Super Bowl. But they were THISCLOSE.

Jack from White Plains, NY

Football is probably the most transitional pro sport in the world given the constant turnover of personnel. Teams almost never have the same exact 53 players on their roster in consecutive games, never mind consecutive seasons. It struck me that the Packers had the best defensive roster for the SF game that they've had at least since the last Super Bowl team and arguably, since the 1996 team. That 15-16 player group was the best I've seen in a long time. Thoughts?

It was their best defense since at least 2009-10, when the Packers ranked inside the top five and had Charles Woodson at the peak of his powers. This year's defense was even deeper, which is wild to say considering how injury depleted the 2010 Packers were. In 2021, they were as deep as they were talented. I think that's the reason fans have struggled to come to terms with how this season ended. Because after years of building to a dominant defense, that unit played at a Super Bowl level – and very well could again in 2022.

Dan from Fort Wayne , IN

Good Morning II. Hi Wes, where would you rank Charles Woodson's "The President don't want to come watch us at the Super Bowl, guess what? We're going to see him." for greatest verbal message? For comedic value, "No more rocket balls, please." -Mike Holmgren. That one always brings a smile to my face. Thank you, Ed Sabol, his innovative fingerprint on the game of football is priceless.

Charles Woodson, one of the true GOATs.

Dan from St. Charles, MO

Wes, what was the biggest surprise you took away from Gute's press conference?

Nothing really surprised me, but I found Gutekunst's line about Green Bay's cap situation not being as dire as some might think to be refreshing. Because while the Packers haven't been in this situation before, it's not the insurmountable cliff people make it out to be. Also, for years, fans clamored for the Packers to do explore more avenues to win a Super Bowl. Folks, that's what they're doing.

Keith from Wallace, ID

While Davante Adams is an amazing player, would you rather have a De'Vondre Campbell and a Rasul Douglas or a single Davante Adams? Because DA's contract will probably equal both or theirs, plus maybe a Tonyan.

Campbell and Douglas are great players and the Packers would be thrilled to have either guy back next year. But Adams is 1B to Aaron Rodgers' 1A on this roster. He affects the game in too many ways to let that player walk out the door. If the Packers want to keep this title window clear, they need the receiver who's always open.

Bob from Durango, CO

"The Packers have that foundation built. They just need to find the pieces to take the next step." I wonder what those pieces could be. Perhaps an MVP QB, first-round bye, home-field advantage with 80,000 fans, snow and rejuvenated team. What are we missing?

Um, did you think they hired Rich Bisaccia just for giggles?

Gary from Johnston, IA

Has there been any movement to keep Allen Lazard with the Packers? His contributions have been more than just catching and receiving. Coach has had high praises of him during the season. #Wardog!!

Lazard is a restricted free agent. Like Robert Tonyan last year, Lazard will require one of the three tenders for the Packers to maintain the first right of refusal on his contract. I think Green Bay would want him back for a fourth season.

Ryan from Sheboygan Falls, WI

Will Aaron Rodgers be MVP next season?

Brett Favre is the only QB who's won three-in-a-row, right? That sounds like a record worth chasing.

Don from Imnaha River Woods, OR

The new Packers kicker signee, Dominik Eberle, had 75 extra points and 22 field goals in one season as a junior? That means his team scored well over 50 points a game in a 10-game season, and even in a playoff scenario had around 50 pts a game. Is this correct? Asking for a friend (if this is true) . . . is the offensive coordinator available? :)

That is true. That quarterback from that team happens to be on the Packers' roster. The offensive coordinator is not available, though. David Yost was hired by FIU a couple months ago.

Benjamin from Groton, CT

I understand the heavy breathing regarding 12's future. I really do. Several sports columnists have said Jordan Love isn't the guy. I'm not saying he is. Any idea what 12's stats were before he got the starting job? I'm willing to bet they are similar to JL.

Rodgers completed 15-of-31 passes for 111 yards and an interception during his first two NFL seasons. It was in his third, Rodgers had that eye-opening performance against Dallas (20-of-28 for 218 yards and a touchdown).

Nick from Santa Rosa, CA

Hi Insiders! I'm coming back to the world after sitting through the bar exam the past two days to catch up on Packers news from the last couple of weeks. I'm glad to see the cap situation didn't prevent us from retaining Kenny Clark. He's a key part of making sure this defense stays championship caliber. The draft class seems weak on QBs and the jury still seems out on Love, do you think we can build a championship team around our running backs and this defense should Rodgers retire? I think so.

If it's not 12, then it's going to be 10. I think that's the right call, too. Fans get riled up over the amount of cap space teams have to dedicate to franchise QBs in today's NFL. Have you seen what veteran backups are commanding these days?

Etienne from St joachin de tourelle, Canada

I am sad for the Ukrainian people. It's a tragedy. Why can't we all live in peace on earth? Great to read the Insider Inbox six days a week, a place where it seems that hatred and the cancer of social media is nowhere to be found. Did I pick up that Big Dog was coming back? I know we are stacked against the cap, but Cordarrelle would be a great addition ( even though there is no math in the inbox), a la Desmond Howard, if I can dream...

Lewis signed a two-year contract with the Packers last offseason and I think we all know how serious he is about making a run at Jason Witten's and Tony Gonzalez's record for most seasons (17) played by a tight end. So, I expect him back. Like Campbell in Green Bay, Patterson set himself up for a big payday with how well he played in Atlanta. I don't think anyone is getting him on a discount this time around.

Reed from Kansas City, MO

All the talk about first-round QBs this week got me thinking: when a highly drafted QB struggles (Mitch Trubisky and Sam Darnold as two recent examples), do you think it's primarily misevaluation or are bad situation and coaching to blame?

I always think back to Alex Smith's situation. He had four different offensive coordinators in each of his first four NFL seasons. The 49ers lost a lot of games and Smith took a lot of hits. Once Jim Harbaugh arrived with a more stable offense, Smith showed his true potential.

Mike from Menane, NC

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH, commented that he would love to see the Packers win many more SBs but most of all wanted to stay competitive. Given a choice of remaining competitive but not winning a SB versus winning a SB every so often but maybe not as competitive during the non-SB years, which would you prefer?

Maybe I'm being obtuse but I'd rather be in Green Bay's situation than Denver's or Philly's.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Right now, when trading a player to another team, the team trading the player can get in return money, players, and/or draft picks. With cap dollars being so valuable, why couldn't a team receive compensation cap dollars, which would increase their cap quantity?

That's not what that means. There are ways for the former team to "eat" some of the player's contract, but it can't actually give the new team cap space.

Patrick from Murfreesboro, TN

Jack Vainisi, now that's someone who deserves HOF attention. Not only for his pivotal role in hiring Lombardi and assembling a legendary collection of talent, but also for pioneering the modern scouting and personnel systems of the NFL. Those who don't know him should look him up. I know he died too soon, but how can his impact get so overlooked?

Those in the know recognize the massive impact Vainisi had on the Packers. He's another guy who was way ahead of his time. He was the architect for the run the Packers got on in the 1960s, which may not have been possible without him.

Terry from Arcadia, WI

As to Scott from Sheboygan's question about career-ending injuries, Sterling Sharpe and Tim Lewis would also be good picks. I started watching the Packers in 1970 while Phil Bengtson was the coach, and suffered through the '70s and '80s. Hence, I couldn't agree more with your comment that Bob Harlan should be in the HOF, not only for resurrecting the franchise, but also for the inspiration to construct the atrium, etc., to provide a solid revenue stream for the franchise's future.

Like Vainisi, Bob Harlan deserves every good thing that's ever been said about him. The addition of contributors to the Hall of Fame was needed. But now we have a pretty long line of deserving candidates over the past century. Canton could almost use a Centennial Slate just for contributors.

Check out photos of Green Bay Packers CB Rasul Douglas during the 2021 season.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, how do you manage all the noise surrounding Aaron Rodgers and his impending return/retirement/trade saga. From a fan's POV, I can turn it off and not go for the clickbait. You fellas are knee deep in this every day all day. Not sure how you stomach it all. Guess that's why you are the pros.

Time for a little story time with Wes Hod. In 2013, I did an interview with a Packers blog I can't even remember. During a panel-style Q&A, one of the people asked me who was going to be a surprise cut that year. Young and naïve, I said A.J. Hawk. If you remember, Hawk ended up having a decent year – including his three-sack game against the Ravens. Then, the same person who asked me that question over the summer attacked me for saying Hawk was going to get cut. What's the moral of the story? One, I don't know anything more than y'all as far as what the future holds. Two, if you can't predict the future, don't like create receipts of your ignorance (e.g. my old "Pen, not pencil" line). Haters will hate. So, I'd rather a few killjoys attack me for not having a "strong" enough opinion on the topic of the day than give them useless bulletin-board material. If I feel strongly about something, I'll say it. If I don't, I'm not gonna play the role of a TV talking head to just placate people and continue a conversation I wasn't asking to have in the first place.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Another candidate for costly career-ending injuries: Sterling Sharpe. The man had vacuum cleaners for hands and was tough to bring down after the catch. Despite being the focus of every defense because of the Packers' lack of talent and so-so QBs, he put up great numbers. And he was at or near his peak just as Favre burst onto the scene!

Sharpe and Nick Collins are pretty much one in the same. A few more seasons and I think their case for Canton would've been undeniable. I was chatting with Spoff last month and reflecting on how crazy it is Sharpe had nine catches for 132 yards and three TDs in his final NFL game. That floors me.

William from Charleston, WV

Wes has a stylist?

I know, I know. I set myself up on that one.

Jon from Hampshire, IL

To Mary from Pewaukee's OT question - and your response (which I believe is spot-on in the current iteration): What if the team that wins the coin flip could choose to defend OR get the ball first starting at their own 10 yard-line? Same current rules apply otherwise. It would certainly make the coin-flip decision meaningful - and perhaps even out the "advantage" that exists in these extra-period contests. Maybe?

It's not the worst idea. I do think the NFL probably needs to start thinking more outside the box regarding overtime but the problem is finding a basic, creative solution. What's more, Spoff is gonna be so upset with me when he comes back and discovers I let the "Should the NFL make changes to overtime?" narrative seep into Inbox with still five months until training camp.

Ron from Trempealeau, WI

Vic once said the role of the NFL Hall of Fame voters was to keep people out and for the most part I agree with that. The hall should be the cream of the crop. Some of the names I see people say should be HOF'ers are not cream of the crop. Matt Ryan? Come on now.

I love how people responded with some vitriol to what I wrote about those QBs. But that's why I wrote it! Voters will have tough calls to make on former NFL MVPs, Super Bowl winners and multiple-time Pro Bowlers/All-Pros.

Mike from Algoma, WI

Loved Matty from Durango's story about meeting a Packers fan from Boston in Florida. In 2015, I was in Alaska on the way to the Homer spit and we saw a Packers flag flying on beach with a boat haul-out. Later that night at a restaurant, a guy across the groom in a Packers shirt looked at me in my GBP hat and nodded. Nothing needed to be said. When you know, you know.

This topic generated my favorite Outsider Inbox question last year. I might just make it a staple. There are so many great worldwide fans stories to tell.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

I honestly can't even remember what year I started reading II. All I know is it was before Wes came and it was Spoff trading off with Vic. I wanna say that was before my college career started in 2013, but I could be wrong.

And this might be the next Outsider Inbox question this July.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. I find it hard to come up with questions during this quiet period. So when you answered that the draft is what makes the NFL so competitive, I thought I had a counter answer. Then you went and addressed the answer I would have proposed-revenue sharing has made it possible for GB to not only survive but be extremely successful. Now that the subject has been covered, I've got nothing. What do I do now?

Just hang out at the Dan party, I guess.

Juan from Miami, FL

Hello Wes, I hope you are not too tired. However, I sure am, about all the news outlets that have opinions, what is best for Aaron Rodgers. I figure I will get my news from you guys when it happens. When I see an article headline about Aaron Rodgers I check out to see if it is true. If I see no article in your site, then I know it is BS. Appreciate your work...I hope to hear some good news soon...I marked my calendar for 3/8/22...

That's the date I'm circling, too, Juan. The answer is coming, eventually. Have a good weekend, folks.